Planet 234

Myfanwy Alexander
Where Crows Would Die
by Mary Griese
Miriam, Daniel & Me by Euron Griffith

by Mary Griese

Y Lolfa, £8.99

Though they are both postwar family sagas, these two books appear so outwardly different. Griffith’s novel shows a cool, elegant face to the world whereas the blacks and reds of Griese’s cover suggest a hot coal that should be handled with tongs. I was baffled by the description of Where Crows Would Die as Welsh Noir, unless the term ‘noir’ is stretched to mean ‘any story mainly set in poorly insulated houses’. Noir is a sub-genre of crime fiction and therefore should contain some element of ambiguity, whereas in Griese’s novel, there is no question of ‘whodunnit’: it was done by the Feral Welsh. As a card-carrying member of the Feral Welsh myself, I am rather tired of books, both novels and memoirs, which portray the inhabitants of rural Wales as nasty, brutish and short, in desperate need of the salvation dispensed by cultured incomers. Here, a young Welshman has to read D.H. Lawrence, loaned by the lovely incomers, to discover who he really is. It’s not as if he had his own culture to draw upon, perish the thought.

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